July 10, 2015

REVIEW: I Want You To Want Me (Rock Star Romance #2)

I Want You To Want Me (Rock Star Romance #2), by Erika Kelly
Publish Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: paperback, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Derek Valencia finally has the success he’s worked so hard for. His band is touring its debut album and great reviews are rolling in. But when pictures of him tossing naked groupies off a balcony go viral, it’s damage-control time. He’s assigned a “babysitter” whose sole job is to keep him out of trouble.

Violet Davis swore she’d never work in the music industry again, but being a minder for a rock star will earn her enough to pay off the mortgage on her wildflower farm. And for a girl brought up in the foster care system, owning her own home means more to her than anything.

Though at first the two bang heads, the rocker and the farm girl soon grow close and realize that they make sweet music together. But can a girl who craves the stability of life on a farm really make it work with a man whose life is spent on the road with his band?

Derek Valencia was my favorite side character from You Really Got Me (Rock Star Romance #1), so I was so excited to see he was getting his book next. What was great about this book is that Derek's relationship with Violet was only one of the key relationships in his life that is explored, and all of them were fascinating. Anything involving Derek would be. 

Derek has always been the heart of Blue Fire, in addition to its bass player. He was the business manager and the publicist before they could afford to hire professional ones. He mother henned the other guys in the band and always tried to keep them on the straight and narrow in the face of all their new-found fame. But, not even Derek could prepare them all adequately for that. Which is where Violet comes in. 

She's a minder - someone who insinuates herself into someone's life so as to keep him or her or them away from the bad things and substitute them for good. Needless to say, her presence in the band's life isn't very welcome at first. But, the thing about Violet is, she is used to it. In her line of work, she gets berated a lot. And, Violet is well suited to her job since emotion isn't something she was brought up with, so it's not something she engages in. She can approach her job stoically and distantly. Violet doesn't think she's capable of love. 

Honestly, Violet frustrated the hell out of me. What she went through as a kid was awful - being abandoned and growing up in foster care. So, I can understand why it might be harder for her to trust others and to give her heart away. Even Derek saw that about her, which was why he was infinitely patient with her. Once Derek got to know her, he saw so many things about her that he liked. She is beautiful and smart and compassionate and giving. But, she doesn't let anything about herself that is real out, and Derek becomes determined to help her do that. 

But, Violet has talked herself into a box, and she absolutely refuses to think outside of it. No matter how many times Derek or Emmie or her friends Francesca and Mimi tell her that she IS capable of feeling the full scope of emotions - including love - she refuses to believe them. Even after Derek shows her time and time again what love is, she refuses to see it. And, even after Derek begs her to take a chance on him and on their relationship, she refuses to do it. And, it was all I could do to keep from throwing my book across the room. 

Derek is a complex guy. He's fighting an uphill battle with Violet, but he also has this terrible relationship with his father to deal with too. His dad is a former famous jazz musician that is looking to ride his kid's coattails for an additional 15 minutes of fame. To do that, his dad blasts him in the press, shows up at events to antagonize and embarrass him, and is constantly putting down his talent and his choices. Derek has been looked over his entire life by the people who are supposed to love him, and my heart broke for both the little boy he was and the good man he grew into. Derek's relationship with his dad is interesting and complicated and so sad. 

But, Derek's relationship with his band mates is incredible. They are the family Derek and Emmie should have had growing up, but didn't. Slater, Cooper, Pete, Ben and Derek are super tight, and I loved their banter and joking with one another. When one of them has a hard time, the others rally around him. And, when tough love has to be shown, it's done with no pleasure or delight. 

The best thing about this series is the focus on the music and the music industry. A lot of rock band series focus mostly on the coupling of the band members with a song here and a concert there thrown in for show. The Rock Star Romance series puts so much more of a spotlight on the things that make the music business go round, and I absolutely love it. It makes these books shine and stand out among the others. 

I Want You To Want Me is written in dual POV. Because Slater is in the band and Emmie is Derek's sister, and they're all on tour together, there is a lot of time spent with the couple from book 1. Despite Violet's frigidity and lack of trust in Derek's and her relationship, the sexy times are hot and plentiful. And that cover - So. Gorgeous. I can't wait to see who the next guy will be to find love. Will it be goofy guitarist Cooper? Or maybe the adorable drummer Ben. And, I'm thinking that Mimi would be perfect for either of them. Either way, I'll read it, because these books so far have been a sure thing. 

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